The Galaxy Note 4 offers offers fast performance, decent camera quality, and above average battery life coupled with a number of useful security services. However, at over £600 Sim-free, the device is somewhat costly.
Great screen, S Pen, decent performance, above average camera and battery
Only 32GB of storage, relatively expensive
Processor: Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 805
Display: 5.7in QHD 2560x1440, 515ppi Super Amoled display
Storage: 32GB, microSD
Camera: 16MP with optical image stabilisation (OIS) rear and 3.7MP front
Connectivity: 4G LTE, WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC
Operating system: Android 4.4.4 Kitkat with Touchwiz
Big screen smartphones are an increasingly popular item in most businesses, and for good reason. While large-screen smartphones aren't trouser pocket friendly, the extra screen real estate makes them much more convenient to use for productivity purposes, such as document editing and emails.
Aware of this, Korean tech giant Samsung has been working hard to refine its Galaxy Note series of phablets for the enterprise, loading each new device with a number of custom security and productivity aids.
Unveiled at IFA in September, the Galaxy Note 4 is touted by Samsung as the pinnacle of this endeavour, and is being marketed as the ultimate business smartphone.
Design and build
At a glance the Galaxy Note 4 looks a lot like the Galaxy Note 3, and features a glass front, metal sides and detachable fake leather finish rear backplate. However, up close there are a number of design differences between the two.
Samsung has made the Galaxy Note 4's sides slightly rounded. It's a small change, but we feel it made the Galaxy Note 4 significantly more comfortable to hold than most phablets.
That said, measuring 154x79x8.5mm and weighing 176g it is still noticeably larger than the average smartphone and remains awkward to use one handed for many people, especially those with dainty hands.
Making up for this, Samsung has equipped the Galaxy Note 4 with a reworked S Pen stylus docked in the bottom right edge of the casing.
Samsung claims that the new S Pen is twice as pressure sensitive as that on the Note 3. Testing the S Pen we found there's certainly some truth to this claim, and it made using the Galaxy Note 4 for work purposes significantly easier than on other phablets. More on this later.
The Galaxy Note 4 is the first phablet to include Samsung's custom fingerprint scanner. The scanner is built into the Galaxy Note 4's front-facing physical home button and allows the device to be set to unlock only after its owner has proved their identity.
As an added perk, the Galaxy Note 4 can be set to approve certain actions, such as NFC payments, only after the owner has authenticated their identity using the scanner.
Considering the ongoing security concerns about data protection in most businesses' IT departments, we can see the scanner being a big selling point for enterprise customers.
Build quality was another area in which the Galaxy Note 4 impressed. While we've not always been the biggest fans of Samsung designs - the removable backplate is often flimsy, for example - the Galaxy Note 4 does feel well built.
Testing the handset we found the Galaxy Note 4 is reasonably scratch and drop resistant and managed to survive an accidental encounter with our office floor unscathed.
Next: Display and operating system.